1st Symposium

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Both Ends Burning Symposium

Achieving Child Permanency Through Innovation

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA | November 5-8, 2014

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Both Ends Burning invited leaders from 20 countries – spanning Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America – to spend three days collaborating on the challenges and opportunities facing child welfare officials around the world. This gathering, with over 80 participants, was the first of its kind in reaction to the global crisis of children who are being denied their human right to a family.

To achieve the greatest impact in the shortest period of time, we invited a group of leaders from around the world to come together and share experiences and expertise, all with the common goal of improving the lives of children living outside of parental care. We knew our goal was ambitious, but we also deeply believe that protecting and promoting every child’s right to a family needs to be a global effort.

Vision & Leadership

Craig Juntunen, Founder of Both Ends Burning, believed that open and forthright conversation could produce change. The symposium was a result of his vision to accelerate a new global era of child welfare.


Attendees had access to experts in child welfare in the fields of law, human rights, medical and psychological care, social services, leadership, process and technology, and orphan care.

Domains of Change Workshops

We credit the format and structure to produce this remarkable outcome. The domains of change workshops promoted participation and the generation of thoughts and ideas was amazing.


The camaraderie was astounding, allowing us to form a global working group committed to communicating with one another.

Building Relationships

Attendees, staff, and experts built new cross-cultural relationships by focusing on the topic that united us, the best interests of children living outside of parental care.

Solving Problems

Facilitators summarized findings from the small group sessions to enable collaboration with all symposium participants.

Working Groups

We clearly heard about current challenges, but more importantly we heard a sincere desire to overcome the obstacles facing each country.

Overcoming Barriers

Bringing nations together meant overcoming language barriers for effective communication. BEB provided translators for those who did not speak English.


The final night celebration was an explosion of spontaneous joy generated from the realization we can work together to produce effective solutions.

The Symposium exceeded our expectations as we witnessed the cause of getting children into permanent families transcend national boundaries. We saw delegates questioning their own national policies as they interacted with expert consultants and each other. We also saw countries sharing experiences and offering to help other countries facing similar challenges. The spirit of camaraderie was astounding.

All delegates committed to joining with Both Ends Burning in forming a global working group to continue our open exchange of ideas and to collaborate in pursuit of real change for kids. We committed to reconvene in March of 2016 to assess our progress and refine our goals for the future. Our collaboration provides all of us with a path forward to providing solutions for the world’s most vulnerable children.

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